Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra-We’re convinced it’s not a parody. The design and features of this phone closely resemble that of luxury smartphones. It takes them one step further with its final feature, which seems almost like a joke.
This camera bump is a big homage to the people who want a ton of power. It includes three high-powered cameras with giant lenses and a 1.1 inch secondary display that shows off more information in your photos.
Why does this phone have a second screen? Who knows. But so far, smartphones haven’t needed rear displays anymore than they need Nubia Z20’s triple-rear camera set up. The Mi 11 Ultra has a plethora of unnecessary features. While you can argue, many features are present which really have no use.
Although this feature is one of the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra’s drawbacks, it’s also one of its benefits. Placing the phone flat on wireless chargers often isn’t possible, but this prevents damage to your phone. It’s also difficult to take out of your pocket with larger hands and cases don’t offer added protection for the large screen. In addition, the second-screen functions range from pointless (an always-on display that barely works) to really annoying (music controls sometimes pop up on it, in a spot that’s easy to touch accidentally).
it’s believed that the Mi 11 Ultra’s huge price tag was in part due to the big rear camera bump, though top-tier specs probably don’t help either. After how the camera bump covered up the nice design of our phone, we can’t help but want a phone with a smaller bump and better design. It also turns out that there is such a phone on the market called the Mi 11.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is very, very similar to the Mi 11 – the Ultra has that bigger camera bump, better cameras, faster charging and a higher price, but the phones have a lot more in common than they don’t. The screens are identical, with 2K resolution and 120Hz refresh rates, and the chipsets, rear material, front camera, fingerprint scanner, reverse wireless charge speed and audio capabilities are all the same too – and given the price and features, the ‘standard’ phone is a much better buy.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra price and availability
The Mi 11 Ultra is an amazing phone in all respects, but it does have a steep price. It costs £1,199 / AU$1,799 (roughly $1,600). If you’re quick with your conversions, you’ll see the smartphone only costs a lot more in the UK than in Australia, so it’s a better deal in Australia.
At a price range like that, the phone is going head-to-head with Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra which is priced at $1,199 / £1,149 / AU$1,849 and Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro Max which costs $1,099 / £1,099 / AU$1,849. Unlike Apple and Samsung, Xiaomi hasn’t had a globally-released phone come out at this ultra’ high price point. For this reason, it’s important to be careful what information is used to back up the claim.
- Huge body which is hard to fit in pockets
- Big camera bump with rear display
- Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
This is a big phone. The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra would already be large, even without its massive back. In that sense, it’s more like an actual weapon.
The dimensions of this phone are 164.3 x 74.6 x 8.4mm and it weighs 234g. The camera bump isn’t included in the thickness, but it might push up against 10mm when you include that measurement.
Design-wise, the power button and volume rocker are located on the right and bottom edges of the phone. On the left edge, there’s a USB-C port but not a 3.5mm headphone jack – sorry for wired audio fans. The phone has a dual-SIM card slot with no microSD card slot.
The on paper specs sound like the phone is well protected with its toughened back and water resistance. But we’ll need to see how the phone fares against falls from 10ft or more.
Now onto what everyone is talking about – the rear camera bump. It is a joy to use and has a great user experience, as it has three lenses and a secondary display, which means you don’t need to open your phone again and again.
When you have a phone as large as the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, it’s not always easy to carry it in your pocket. Fortunately, Xiaomi has given this phone such a compact design that it often fits in a smaller bag or even your back pockets! This case doesn’t cover the top and bottom of the phone which makes us a little nervous that it will get broken if it falls.
- 6.81-inch 120Hz display with 1440 x 3200 resolution
- Screen looks great
- Rear 1.1-inch display with a few functions
The Mi 11 Ultra has the exact same display as the Xiaomi Mi 11, but it’s also a 6.81-inch smartphone screen powerhouse with curved edges and a cut-out for the front camera in top left
At that size, the phone has one of the biggest displays available on a smartphone and it isn’t just called ‘Ultra’ for nothing.
We love the 1440X3200 resolution. On top of that, it’s 120Hz refresh rate means we get HDR 10+ and 1700nits max brightness! This is probably one of the best displays we’ve seen in a while.
The fingerprint scanner is also being housed on the back. Xiaomi phones have in the past had issues with this piece of tech, as they can often be temperamental to use. While the Mi 11 Ultra doesn’t have the same issues, we still often had to lift our thumbs and replace them again to get the scanner to work
I’m also very pleased with the 1.1-inch back panel, which is the same as that on the Xiaomi Mi Band 6. The rear screen is only being used for three distinct functions here, unlike on that multi-talented sports band from a while ago.
The device has an always-on display, although it’s not just constantly switched on. The screen will switch off after a short amount of time and you’ll need to wake the phone to see any notifications that might have popped up in-between. Although, it does nice things like display your current battery life and the current date.
When you use the rear camera, the phone can act as a viewfinder so they can see themselves while they’re taking the picture. As you can imagine, however, a 1.1-inch screen is hard to see from a distance, so the display doesn’t work for this purpose very well either – plus, the viewfinder only works in default Photo mode, not Portrait, which you’d probably be using to take a snap of someone.
- 50MP main, 48MP ultra-wide, 48MP periscope, 20MP selfie cameras
- Most cameras work well, and there are lots of modes
- Ultra-wide and macro images look questionable
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra has three rear cameras, the same number as the iPhone 12 Pro Max and one fewer than the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra or OnePlus 9 Pro, but quantity doesn’t necessarily equate to quality when it comes to smartphone photography – far from it in many cases.
These are 50MP f/2.0 main, 48MP f/2.2 ultra-wide and 48MP f/4.1 periscope cameras, with the latter hitting 5x optical and 120x digital zoom. There’s also a 20MP f/2.2 front-facing snapper.
Pictures taken on the main camera are fantastic- they’re bright, vibrant, and have lots of detail. Mi 11 with its 108MP snapper is a good example- it may not have the highest resolution but it has plenty of detail which is just as important.
In well-lit settings especially, but also to an admirable degree in low-light conditions, images were sharp, and exposure was handled well too. It’s hard to fault photos taken with the main camera, as you can see in the ‘Camera samples’ section below.
The zoom feature of this camera is amazing. It was especially noticeable when we used the periscope, which handles zoom shots. Snaps taken with the periscope were equally great because you can get an idea of what’s going on at 5x optical zoom. Pictures in the 5x zoom were just as bold & detailed as un-zoomed ones, and often looked better than 1x zoom pictures.
Quality drops off when you zoom in far though, especially towards the 120x end the phone goes up to (huge maximum zoom ranges like this are a nice gimmick, but the pictures are seldom very usable). Hybrid pictures at 10x zoom, which combine digital and optical zoom, are actually pretty impressive though, and we took some sharp pictures with this more modest range.
Performance and specs
- Snapdragon 888 with 12GB RAM
- High performance speeds
- Overheating issue can reduce phone’s power
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is one of the Android phones with Snapdragon 888 chipset, which is paired with 12GB of RAM. Thanks to these internals, the phone should be powerful enough for all sorts of tasks – our experience with it so far has suggested as much
Geekbench 5 benchmark tests have found that the phone has performance on par with other flagship phones. For example, in the Geekbench 5 benchmark, the Mi 11 returned a multi-core score of 3569 and iPhone 11 Pro Max had a 3424. Your test result changes suspiciously.
In total, we tested the phone 5 times, and each time the score dropped by 100-350 points. By the time we finished our testing, it was on a par with more affordable models like the Moto G 100 and aging Sony Xperia 5.
There have been reports of a new OnePlus 6 overheating during use. It’s unclear whether this is a quality issue, but we did find the phone getting warm in our month of testing with it. The phone became very hot while running the Geekbench 5 test, likely due to poor heat management. This probably means that it has poor thermal performance and that it’s also unable to deal with heavy workloads.
- Android 11 with Xiaomi’s MIUI
- MIUI has loads of bugs
- Lots of customization options
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra runs Android 11 with the MIUI user interface over the top.
However, there are also some features of MIUI that may bother you. For instance, there’s a lot of focus on ads and notifications for games inside the OS. And it can take time to get used to the UI design and layout after coming from a different phone.
MIUI is also fairly buggy. There are visual glitches in the swipe-down menu, notifications are sometimes sent multiple times, and you can get phantom notifications which make your phone buzz and light up even though no message was received.
There are few complaints with MIUI but among those that have popped up include the bloatware. These are the pre-installed third-party apps most users will find themselves removing and you may get a pop-up during installation of a new app, interrupting your work.
- 5,000mAh battery lasts about a day of use
- 67W wired and wireless charging, 10W reverse powering
- Big camera bump makes wireless powering awkward
One of the biggest complaints about the Mi 11 Ultra is its battery life, with some arguing it’s excellent, but most judging it as poor. Based on our experience it would be fair to say that we would rank this model as “poor”.
While the phone’s 5,000mAh battery is fairly large, it struggles to keep up with the 120Hz display and can’t cope with the other powerful components. The phone often runs out of power and we found we needed to charge it every day.
We often saw the phone with 10%-20% left by the time we finished our day, but the battery would usually last longer. With heavier use, it was typical to need to recharge around mid-day.
One thing to pay attention is that power consumption could increase dramatically when the phone becomes hot, as we explained in ‘Performance and specs’ section. It is something important to consider if you are someone who uses your device a lot.